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Covington police hold 'Shop with a Cop'
Dozens of officers help 30 area children pick out Christmas gifts
Shop with a cop - 2021
Dozens of Covington police officers accompanied 30 area children Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, to pick out Christmas gifts as part of the department's Shop with a Cop event. (Special | City of Covington)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Dozens of city police officers took 30 of Newton County’s youth shopping for Christmas gifts Wednesday night for its annual "Shop with a Cop" program.

Capt. Ken Malcom said Covington’s Police Department had been organizing “some semblance” of the program for more than 40 years. He said former officer Frank Hilton started the initiative in the 1970s.

“It’s just always great to help out these kids,” he said. “The thing I enjoy most, in my 35 years on the force, I love watching the faces of our officers light up.”

Children are selected to go shopping with officers after being referred by organizations such as Alcovy CASA, Newton County Juvenile Courts and Newton County DFACS. Each child gets a specific dollar amount to spend on gifts, including clothes, toys and other things they might need or want. 

But it never fails, Malcom said, that officers open up their own wallets at the end of the night to make sure everything in the shopping cart can go home with the children.

“Sometimes the kids’ eyes might get a little too big, but they don’t want to tell them no,” Malcom said. “I think this event just shows the caliber of people we have working with us.” 

Two days before "Shop with a Cop," the police department executed “Operation Candy Cane,” where officers delivered treats to more than 950 students at Newton County Theme School in Covington.

Thanks to the “tremendous” amount of money raised through the annual Fuzz Run, which is a race organized for the Police Who Care, Inc. Fund, and the community’s continued kindness to financially “back the blue,” the holiday program, as well as other initiatives, has been able to grow, Malcom said.

“In tragic situations, our officers have the ability to fund the needs of families or individuals involved because of [the Police Who Care Fund],” he said. “And that means a lot to our officers to not just go out and do their job, but being able to go beyond the call.

“It’s a unique and special thing we have here,” Malcom added, “and it’s something I’m proud of.”